Sunday, November 27, 2011

Where did that week go?

Wow, this week has gone in the blink of an eye - so busy with making, Thanksgiving and Tabitha's 8th birthday.  I have been working on bangles and earrings and I am loving the way the silver and copper work together. These bangles are very weighty!  Nothing flimsy about these lovelies.  The week ahead hopefully will be very productive as I start to put everything together.

silver and copper bangles
This bird is a work in progress.  It is part of a pair of earrings that I am working on.  When completed it will have an amethyst nugget dangling off it.

copper and silver bird earring

We took advantage of the beautiful weather on Saturday and had a super morning out at Crystal Cove State Park.  We walked along Pelican Point and Treasure Cove - what great names for beaches.  Tabitha had a lovely time.  The tide was just going out as we got there, so she had lots of fun at the tide pools.  It was so nice to feel the sun on our faces.

airbourne at Crystal Cove
starfish at Crystal Cove

It was Tabitha's 8th birthday on Saturday, we had a little dilemma and a frantic search for an ice cream cake - we eventually found one and we were rewarded with this beautiful sunset on our drive back.

sunset from the car

We went down to the Sawdust Festival at Laguna Beach today.  It was another beautiful day - it was in the low 80's - such a change from last Sunday, when the Sawdust Festival was closed because of the severe rain. I am hoping to take part in their Winter Fantasy event next year.  So we went to check it out.  We had a really nice time - it is a great atmosphere down there and it was nice to take time out to see what other people are creating.  I got lots of great comments on the jewellery that I was wearing - which is a nice little boost for the ego!  So I have my fingers crossed for next year. 

driving down to Laguna Beach - this is my husband's commute to work!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The end of the week!

This week was a busy week with lots of making going on.  We did get time to have some fun on Friday at Fashion Island when Mickey, Minnie and Goofy turned the lights on the big Christmas tree.  The tree is over 90 feet tall with over 20,000 lights!  It was so busy that I only caught a glimpse of Mickey's ears, but Miss T had a good view from her Daddy's shoulders.  We came back to get a closer look at the tree when the crowds of people had dispersed.  It was a very lovely evening.

I have been working crazily trying to get some lovelies together for Paula Hanson's 1st Annual Christmas Fair.  Excuse the photos, but I thought I would give you a sneak peak of two rings that are just about finished.  These rings are big!  Hmmm... Maybe I was inspired by the size of that tree!  

silver, copper, dichroic glass

silver, copper, amethyst
I just need to finish working on the patina on this one
This is to give you an idea of scale and no, I do not have tiny hands!  The ring is BIG!
So, this week promises to be a very busy one.  We have Thanksgiving this Thursdasy and Tabitha's 8th birthday on Saturday - so not very many making days this week.  Tuesday and Wednesday will be studio days, so fingers crossed all goes well and I get a lot done.  I am working on several pairs of earrings and I have a couple of ideas for belt buckles!  I would also like to make a few more rings but maybe on a smaller scale!  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What's on my work bench...

I have been invited to participate in the 1st Annual Holiday Bazaar at the Paula Hanson Boutique in Newport Beach.  I am very excited about this, as this has to be one of my most favourite shops.  So, here is what is on my work bench at the moment as I prepare for December 9 and 10th.  

This is a "small" ring that I have nearly finished - I just have to set the bezel - so excuse the floss!  I put the penny in so it gives you an idea of the scale of this ring. 

This ring is not for a wallflower!

I think I am in for lots of busy days over the next few weeks as I build up inventory.  So I am dashing off to the studio right now and will post more photos of my progress soon.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Holidays are coming...

Hands up if you sang the Christmas Coke song?  Brainwashed!  I happened to be at Fashion Island yesterday as they were setting up their Christmas tree - it is HUGE!  I took a photo as they were working on it and that is a person at the top!  It is so big that they have to take most of the limbs off and then drill holes into the trunk and then push the branches in.  The tree lighting is Friday - I will get a photo of it all lit up.  Have I mentioned how big it is?  I bet that you can see it from space once it is lit!  

The elves were also working hard on Santa's Grotto.  I would be very happy to live in there.  I love the reindeer weather vane.  It is crazy to think that this is a temporary structure and will only exist in this spot for such a short time. 

I had a very super happy Anthropologie moment.  There is a green glass table lamp that I have loved for a long time - a really long time!  The original price was $298 - well, that was never going to happen - nor when it was reduced to $149.95.   It was reduced to $74.95, but it had a little ding on the bayonet fitting and I was ballsy enough to ask if they would reduce it...they said yes!  $52 - what a result.  I will try and take a nice photo of it tomorrow - which will be way better than the ugly photo I did take!

I also picked up some very lovely leatherbound notebooks.  I always carry a notebook around with me and these little beauties were reduced to $7.95.  What a great shopping moment I had to myself.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sunday, Fun Day!

Sunday morning in Southern California was not very sunny at all yesterday! We had planned a morning out to the Southern California Handweavers' Guild Annual Weaving & Fiber Festival, which was being held at the Torrance Cultural Arts Center.  Torrential rain was not going to deter me from the plan - I am British after all!

I am so pleased that we did make the effort.  It was so great to see so many people passionate about their craft.  Now, I have to say, I did feel a bit of an imposter because, wait for it - I can't knit!  I know, I know - and it drives me nuts.  I can turn my hand to making most things, but knitting alludes me.  It was though a real feast for the eyes - so many colours and textures.

One of the reasons for going to the show was that I have a new idea that I wanted to explore with my jewellery and I thought that I might find some interesting buttons - no luck there, but I did find a new toy!  I was inspired by the work of Una from  Wooly Walkers.  I have made hooked rag rugs in the past and it just is a slow process.  I really loved the bags that Una was selling.  They were a little out of my price range, but, I really appreciated all the hard work that had gone into creating them.  Una showed me how quick and easy it is to use a needle punch.  I loved the fact that you cover the surface so quickly with this technique.    So, I bought a yard of Monk's Cloth and a needle punch!  It is not as though I have enough on my plate already, but I do love to try out new tools and I like the idea of making a bag.  So, as soon as I have experimented I will show you the results. 

I really wish that I had thought to take some pictures at the show, as there were lots of exciting things to see.  I loved the wool spun by Margie Bell and Lori Lawson's scarves were divine. 

On the way back from Torrance, the sun was finally breaking through the clouds so we decided to go for a walk around Balboa Island to stretch our legs and get some fresh air.  

As you come over the bridge onto the main island, there are some great shops and boutiques.
That is my daughter, Tabitha in the distance.  She is enjoying the sand between her toes!
One of the canals that run through the island
What a beautiful place to live!

So, so the sun, did eventually shine on Sunday and what a great day it turned out to be!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Hello's me! Or, maybe more realistically...Hello Mother!

My name is Nicola Natland and I am a designer/maker.  Metalsmithing has been my main focus for the last eight years and I make jewellery using silver, copper and semi-precious stones.  I like my pieces to have a message which may be quite obvious or it could be hidden waiting to be discovered.  I am passionate about creating and I have been known to go off on odd tangents.  Creating can very easily take over my life - I once had a full size paper mache cow on my kitchen table for a few weeks! I should probably mention at this point that I have a very understanding husband.  I love working in lots of different mediums from leather to linen, paper mache, glass, the list is pretty long and I get very excited about learning new techniques.  Maker, dreamer, procrastinator! Yep, that just about sums me up.
This blog has been born out of a pact I made with a good friend, artist Becky Bettesworth.  On August 23rd this year, we wrote a binding contract - on a scrap of paper, as you do - that we would both have a blog and an Etsy shop by December 1st, 2011. As I am a procrastinator by nature, maybe more of a dreamer than a doer, I knew that I would be more motivated if I had a deadline.  I had already been musing for several months about what to name my blog.  Every time I thought I had the perfect name, it turned out that someone had that great thought before me.  I was wasting so much time trying to come up with a great blog name.  To save my sanity I gave up thinking so hard, so here I am, it's me, Nicola Natland.

I first met Becky when our daughters attended the same school and one thing lead to another and in a moment of misguided, but enthusiastic madness, we decided to share a stall at several Christmas street fairs in Devon.  The most important word in the last sentence is "street" - which is a word that we kind of brushed over in our excitement.  Don't get me wrong, we knew that we would be outside when we booked our stall, but bathed in the warmth of an Indian summer, winter seemed a very long way away.

I think that I am wearing at least 6 layers of clothing at this point!
Anyone that has been to these wonderful Christmas street fairs in Dartmouth, Kingsbridge and Totnes will attest to the fact that they are fantastic.  Anyone that has had a stall there will agree that you have to be mad!  Actually, you have to be bonkers!  The first event at Totnes we had torrential rain, no customers and a gutter was gushing water onto our roof. Fun! We experienced the harsh reality of standing outside at night in the middle of winter in the freezing cold for several hours.  Brrrr!  At Dartmouth we nearly took off and flew into the river when gale force winds lifted the marquee off the ground and we both had to hang on to it for dear life.  Think handglider!  At every event we seemed to encounter new challenges.  It was a case of just when you thought nothing else could go wrong it did!  

The experience and boy, was it an experience from start to finish, is often recalled with the words "Were we mad?" And to be honest with you - yes, we were!  But, I learnt so much - such as wearing lots of layers makes you the same shape as a Womble, but keeps you really warm, standing on cardboard does help to insulate you from the severe cold that will slowly creep up your legs, you can never have too much lighting and that a bar of chocolate, a cup of coffee and a hug can make the world of difference!

I now live on the other side of the world to Becky, she is in Devon, in the UK and I have moved back to California with my American husband.  Our children are older and we are both moving onto the next stages of our creative journey.  I would like to think that through our shared experiences in 2008 - the year of the Christmas street fairs - that we cemented a friendship that will last a lifetime.